One of the first things couple do after getting engaged is picking a date and securing it at a venue. Choosing the right venue is one of the most important and challenging selections you will have to make, as it can either make or break the success of your wedding.
Researching venues and negotiating with them can be very time-consuming for each couple, and in many cases it may be difficult to know if you are really getting a good deal for your wedding. When choosing the right venues please pay close attention to my list of SIX rules that I use in selecting the ideal venue for a wedding, without breaking your bank.
Rule #1: Make sure to find a venue that is large enough to accommodate the number of people on your guest list. When you go and look at venues you will be looking at an enormous empty room, but throw in wedding essentials- tables, chairs, buffets, bars, bands, djs, dance floor, guests- will the room accommodate for this? Even if you choose an outdoor space, you will need ample room for these essentials and more (if you choose to have more). Ask the venue coordinator if it is possible to take a peak of another wedding with an equivalent guest list size to yours is taking place- or of past photographs so you can get a general idea of what the room will look like after you have placed the essentials and guests in it. However, if you have your heart set on a venue that only holds a certain amount of people, then you can tailor your guest list to match that venue.
Rule #2: Your room should have space where your guests can eat, drink, talk, and dance. When you are standing in the room try and envision where each activity would happen. If a room is too small to separate into sections, or in the shape of an S or any other figure, it will most likely feel crammed. The best possible shape you can have in your venue would be a square or rectangle, with the head table situated in the middle at the front of the room. This will ensure that all of your guests will be able to see you, your groom, and bridal party at all times. Low ceilings can also give your wedding a stuffy feeling, so opt for a venue that has high ceilings. Heights matters a lot- so do not overlook them. Also, make sure when envisioning your day in the empty space, you note of the locations of each column or obstructions- which will block people`s views of the dance floor or head table.
Rule #3: When looking for venues keep in mind that many buildings are old and are not visually appealing from the outside, however, do not overlook these venues, they usually renovated the inside and have gorgeous rooms. No matter what venue you are looking at, new or old, make sure to do a thorough inspection of the room and site. Look for tears in the wall paper or holes in the carpet, carpets are often overlooked and have been known to be a make it or break it for some venues. Always check the lobby as well, as this is the first place your guests will walk in to and the first thing they will see. If you are all about first impressions you will want to make sure that the lobby has beautiful statues or artwork, along with high ceilings that wow your guests. You also want to make sure your room stands out as well; this is something else that people will notice when they first walk in. Does it have beautiful chandeliers? Persian Carpets? European styles statues? All of this is to be considered in choosing the right place. They also make for great backgrounds for your photographs.
RULE #4– Another item in a venue that can make or break your event, and sometimes couple overlook it is the lighting. You want to make sure this is a very important item on your list when choosing a venue, as lighting is very powerful in creating moods and transforming a space. If your reception is during the day, make sure the venue has a lot of windows so you can get a lot of day light. If your reception is held in the evening make sure the room is not too dim, causing people to have trouble seeing the person in front of them or their meal. When you have your choices of venues narrowed down make sure to visit it at the time of day that you want your reception to be held so you can get a great idea of what your reception will look like during that time.
Rule #5- If you are thinking of having a band or dj, make sure the room has good acoustics. You don’t want to choose a venue and then finding out it is echoed, causing your guests to have difficulty hearing the performance. If you are looking to amplify the entertainment’s sound- a tile or wood floor would be best, while a thick carpet floor might tend to muffle the sound. Also, keep in mind the amount of outlets that are available in your room. Your vendors may need access to a number of them, you also want to take note of the exact location of each one so when you are planning out the layout you keep the dj or entertainment close by to them. Make sure to ask your venue coordinator if they allow outside DJ services, sometimes venues have in-house DJ services that they prefer their clients use, however, you do have the option in hiring your own but you will be required to pay a fee to the in-house dj.
And Last but Not Least….
Rule #6- Make sure your venue has a large parking lot, garage, or a big street where it is legal to park. You want your guests to have full accessibility to parking, and try to look for venues that offer free parking for their guests. If parking is a problem within your venue, look for other ways for your guests to get to the reception. Would you be willing to rent shuttle buses or taxi cabs to bring your guests from the ceremony to the reception? Don’t get me wrong inadequate parking doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker, if you fell in love with the venue, however, it may end up costing you more time and money to figure out alternative solutions.